Are you planning to buy a water filter soon? If you consider purchasing a water filter for your home, you could be wondering which type to get: An activated carbon filter, a reverse osmosis system, a gravity water filter that uses ceramic?
All types of water filters have their pros and cons. A countertop water filter for example may be more flexible and easy to install and use initially than let’s say an under-sink water filter which requires more installation work upfront, but minimal maintenance later on.
In order to make the best buying decision, you should test your tap water as your first step. Only by knowing which kinds of contaminants are present in your water supply can you choose the right filtration method and filter media accordingly.
This article will outline how you can test your tap water and also compare two popular types of water filters for home use: Countertop and under-sink systems.
How to Test Your Tap Water
Consumer Confidence Report
As a household receiving tap water (sometimes called city water or municipal water), you receive an annual water quality report also known as Consumer Confidence Report. The free report outlines the current quality of your tap water by listing all the different contaminants which were detected in most recent testing.
Thus, you may not even need to test your tap water yourself – someone already did it for you!
Water Test Kits
If you don’t want to rely on a third party you should purchase a bunch of different water test kits online or at your local hardware store and do the testing yourself. This allows you to test for whichever contaminants you suspect to be present in your water supply, provided that there is a test kit for it.
The main concern with doing your own testing with the help of water test kits is that results may be inaccurate, meaning you could rely on a false positive.
Professional Testing Laboratories
If you want to have your own testing done but don’t want to put your fate in DIY test kits, your best option is to go with a professional testing laboratory. Your municipality may be able to provide you with contact details of trusted institutions.
The advantage of working with a professional laboratory is that they use the most advanced methods for contaminant detection and therefore provide the most promising results.
The main disadvantage is that this is by far the most costly way to determine the quality of tap water.
Regardless of how you go about testing your water, make sure to choose the right type of water filter accordingly. Remember: Not all water filter media and water filtration methods are equally effective at removing the various kinds of tap water contaminants known today.
1. Countertop Water Filters
A countertop water filter can be installed exactly where the water exits the outlet. It is a point-of-use filter, and as the name implies, it connects directly to the faucet. Countertop filters filter water as soon as it comes out of a tap making it ready to use.
Typically, countertop water filters are designed to occupy very little space and do not require extensive plumbing connections to work correctly. They need very little installation work, and some are ready from the moment you unbox them.
A countertop filter can use different filtration media, such as activated carbon or ceramic, to eliminate contaminants. As a result, the water is clean and has a clear taste. Countertop systems are also quick to clean and do not require high water pressure to work well.
The pros of countertop water filters are:
- They are typically small to fit on the kitchen counter and look nice at the same time.
- They are easy to install and easy to move when needed.
- Countertop filters can be cheaper than under-sink water filters.
- Some countertop water filters do not require electricity (like a pumped RO system) and do not have to be attached to a water supply.
The cons of countertop water filters are:
- They have limited filtration capacity, speed, and water flow, compared to under-sink water filters.
- They are not always reliable when using an electric interface.
- Even though they are designed to fit on the kitchen counter, they still occupy space and contribute to kitchen clutter.
- Higher running costs due to the necessity to change filters more often.
The most common use of a countertop water filter is to provide high-quality drinking water by removing chemicals and chlorine from tap water. This is done using a simple carbon cartridge, which can be replaced when needed. There are specific filter cartridges for reducing other contaminants like cysts, leads, nitrates, fluoride, and even bacteria if one needs additional filtration.
When is it best to buy a countertop water filter?
- If you have enough space on your kitchen counter to place a water filter.
- If you do not want to spend time with installation and enjoy a ready-to-go solution.
- If you do not need a high amount of purified water on a daily basis.
- If you are on a budget and need to economize.
- If you do not mind replacing the filter cartridges more often.
In case you could tick of most or all of the criteria, consider using a countertop water filter for your home. For more info visit watermaterz.com.
2. Under-Sink Water Filters
As the name describes, an under-sink water filter takes water from the water pipe under the sink and pushes it through the system’s filters. Once the water is cleaned, it is delivered through the dispenser connected to the filtering system. The filtering happens on-demand, which means there is no water waste like in a reverse osmosis system.
An under-sinker only purifies water from the pipe under the sink in which it is placed. It is not a whole house filter that cleans water coming to every outlet. The water comes out of an extra faucet which is not connected to the standard kitchen sink for hot and cold water, which means that you can still use unfiltered tap water for other purposes, like cleaning, while enjoying filtered water for cooking or drinking.
The pros of an under-sink water filter are:
- They are out of sight since they are installed under the sink.
- They have an improved water capacity and can deliver a high quantity of water compared to countertop water filters.
- They provide targeted filtration for those who do not want or need a whole house filter.
- Filters do not need to be replaced as often.
The cons of under-sink water filters:
- They are larger filters compared to countertop water filters.
- They are more expensive than countertop water filters.
- They are more complex to install; even though you can do it yourself without calling a plumber it still requires some work.
But, when is the case to buy an under-sink water filter?
- If you are looking to filter water from a sink only and not the water going to the entire house.
- If you do not have a big place and do not want to clutter your kitchen counter.
- If you do not want to spend time with routine maintenance.
- If you need a large amount (more than a couple of gallons of water) of purified water every day.
In these cases, you may consider an under-sink filter. It is an efficient way to get clean water for you and your family.
The type of under-sink water filter that best suits your home depends on what contaminants or particles are in the water. A simple carbon filter can remove chlorine and other impurities. For the removal of dissolved particles, you may need a more complex filtration system.
You should now know how you can determine the quality of your tap water – through testing and other ways. You’ve also learned about the difference between countertop and under-sink water filters, how both water filter types work, and their pros and cons.
It should also be clear what type of filter would suit you best, depending on your budget, daily water consumption, if you are willing to do installation work or not, and if you want a solution that doesn’t require routine maintenance.
Whether you choose a countertop water filter or an under-sink filter, both systems are effective and will provide you with clean water.